European football united its ranks today, Sunday, and threatened to ban any club from joining a separatist competition after the specter of the European Super League reappeared on the eve of a vote on changes to the football system. the Champions League.
The European Football Association (UEFA) said on Sunday it had learned that a group of English, Spanish and Italian clubs “may be considering announcing the creation of a closed competition called the Super League”.
Numerous media reports, which none of the silent clubs have denied, said the Premier League’s ‘big six’ – Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – have agreed to the plans.
Speculation has also linked Spanish poles Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Juvent us, Milan and Inter, to plans to create the new tournament, which no German or French club have so far been associated with.
The news comes less than 24 hours before UEFA votes on Monday on plans to extend and restructure the Champions League.
UEFA issued a firmly worded statement in collaboration with the football associations of England, Spain and Italy, saying it was ready to use “all measures” to remedy any division, adding that any participating club would be banned from participating in domestic league competitions such as the English Premier League.
UEFA said: “Affected clubs will be banned from playing in any other competition at local, European or world level, and their players may be deprived of the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
“We thank clubs from other countries, especially French and German clubs, who refused to join him. We invite all football fans, supporters and politicians to join us in the fight against this project if it is announced. These few clubs have long sought their own good. “Fair. That’s enough.”
These moves have been condemned by football authorities across Europe, and former players such as ex-Manchester United captain Gary Neville have called them “utter shame” and said club owners were motivated by “sheer greed”.
There is no report that France’s most prominent club Paris Saint-Germain has endorsed the plan, and French President Emmanuel Macron has also spoken of his opposition to secession.
“The President of the Republic welcomes the position of French clubs refusing to participate in the European Super League project which threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit,” said the French presidency in a statement sent to Reuters.
The Elysée added: “The French state will support all measures taken by the French Football Federation, the French League, UEFA and FIFA to protect the integrity of federal competitions, whether national or European. ”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also opposed the plans.
“Plans for a European Super League will be very damaging to football, and we support the football authorities in their actions,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“They will touch the heart of local football and worry fans across the country. Joint clubs should speak to their supporters and the wider football community before taking any further action. ”
Earlier on Sunday, the Italian League board held an emergency meeting on the Super League.
A Serie A source told Reuters the league had recently learned of plans to create a separate competition.
A league of 20 clubs
Numerous reports of separatist competition surfaced for several years and reappeared in January after media revealed a document describing plans to create a 20-club league that would include the Spanish poles of Real Madrid and of Barcelona.
In October, then Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club had accepted a proposal to join a separatist competition.
In January, La Liga president Javier Tebas told Reuters that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool were leading the effort behind the project, adding that the plans faced outright opposition from other clubs in Spain and around the world.
As a result of this information, FIFA and UEFA have issued a warning that they will ban any player participating in a separatist competition from participating in the World Cup and European Championships.
The move came as a surprise after the Association of European Clubs, which represents 246 major clubs on the continent, announced its support for the UEFA reforms that were on the agenda of its executive committee meeting on Monday.
UEFA has proposed increasing the number of Champions League clubs to 36 and making a complete change to the group stage, to become one-table instead of the current system, which includes 8 groups made up of 4 teams.
Each team plays 10 matches in the group stage instead of 6 in the current system, and a knockout round will also be created before the round of 16.
Although there was a broad consensus on these reforms, the European Club Association made a final attempt to push for changes in governance and competition management.
Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward told investors last month he expected such a result.
“We look forward to seeing UEFA’s final and comprehensive proposal, which we hope will include greater involvement of clubs in the management of competitions,” said Woodward.